Should the death penalty be used against offenses other than murder? As Gib reports a case like that, involving the rape of an 8 year old girl, is before the Supreme Court. Gib gives a great rundown and it's definitely worth the read. As an opponent of the death penalty I find myself really unable to give an enthusiastic argument against imposing it in this case. I would though like to address a point Gib brings up here:
"There are practical objections raised as well. Opponents claim that the death penalty for child rape will result in rapists killing their victims. It will also result in children victimized by family members not reporting the crime if doing so could result in the rapist's death. The interesting thing about this argument is that death penalty opponents have claimed for years that the death penalty does not serve any deterrent function."
I don't believe the death penalty does serve a deterrent function, but I disagree that, "the death penalty for child rape will result in rapists killing their victims." I mean how much sense does that make in this particular case? If the rapist's intention is to escape the death penalty how would upping the ante, so to say, defend against a death sentence? In any event, any argument like that doesn't take into account that if a person is so deranged to rape a child I doubt that the repercussions of that action really enter their mind.
Ultimately though, what's going through my head right now isn't the ideological benefits of capital punishment but the visceral emotion of vengeance. In some ways I think it's more appropriate to use the death sentence in cases like this rather than murder. For things so heinous a child rape death doesn't feel just enough. I suppose I should be more forgiving and academic in my meditation on the subject, but we can't all be Obama.